Month: November 2012


After Valladolid, we made our way to Salamanca.

“…Salamanca, que enhechiza la voluntad de volver a ella a todos los que de la apacibilidad de su vivienda han gustado.” Miguel de Cervantes

…. translates to “Salamanca makes all those who have enjoyed the pleasant experience of living in her long to return”

Here in Logrono we see signs that say how many kilometers you are from France. In Salamanca it tells you how far to Portugal. It put in perspective how far we had traveled, yet by train It didn’t hurt a bit.

Salamanca is famous for it’s University and study abroad programs among other things like giant cathedrals, a roman bridge, gothic and moorish architecture, a plaza mayor to swoon for….The University aspect made me miss my University days although Iowa City and Salamanca, pues no hay nada que ver…..

Plaza Mayor


House of shells, Conchas. Like the symbol of the camino.

Casa de Lis, Art Noveau and Art Deco museum. Beautiful both day and night.

Desayuno on plaza Mayor. It’s okay when you know you’re going to walk all day.

Plaza de Toros


Can you imagine this being your pre game spot? Students in Salamanca can.

A restoration added that goblin eating ice cream……said a woman begging for money.


Outside the University Museum. If you find the skull with a frog on it, it’s good luck. If you buy a frog key chain you’re a sucker. 

Just walking to the library

And then I was on the set of Beauty and the Beast, the library scene.

After seeing all those books and knowledge in one place, I was extra inspired when I saw an antique book shop, La Galatea: Libreria Anticuaria. We had time, so we took a peek inside and I melted. They should consider installing a fire place and charging money to curl up by it for one hour and read. They had cool old records, tin signs, all that kind of stuff that makes the antiques road show go ’round. I knew immediately I wanted to buy something, if only for the memory of having entered. As luck would have it I found a children’s version (though still quite difficult mind you….) of Lazarillo de Tormes. It is the first unofficial novel since it’s anonymous and Don Quijote is the first official novel. I read it in college and I was really touched and interested in a lot of the themes and messages in the book. Then of course the book store lady confirmed those things for me and reminded me that in the story, Lazarillo was from Salamanca and born in the river Tormes. Hence his surname. AH! Though the river is more….dry the Roman bridge obviously still stands. Those Romans.

Just being Lazarillo de Tormes

Welcome to Salamanca!

Book store lady couldn’t believe we had not yet seen the Roman bridge and we only had a few hours left in Salamanca. So we spent them in the mist seeing the bridge, crossing it, and then crossing back to go eat one final pintxo of course. The prices were low in both Salamanca and Valladolid especially for what and where we ate. Logrono is sort of “pricey” for a small town, although I still think a lot of things are really cheap.

So to escape some of the txirimirri (something like that in basque for that raining but not exactly feeling mist), we made our final visit inside the Cathedral. Lots of steps to work all the tortilla and solomillo off our butts.

Feeling small

The face of being rained on.




When i say best solomillo of my life….i mean BEST SOLOMILLO OF MY LIFE. Bambu off Plaza Mayor.


I don’t know if I belong in Salamanca, but I really enjoyed it. It’s a nice sized city with more churches than you’ll even want to see or know about, and the food is mmm mmm mm MMM.

Now i’ll have to start some new dreams about cities to visit. Perhaps more along the Don Quijote theme. I obviously can’t leave this Earth without seeing those windmills. For this weekend, a cozy birthday of food and wine in Logrono. You’re old when you say cozy in the same sentence as birthday.


un beso








Valladolid and looking ahead

When you are in close quarters with someone for the first time and/or for a long time you learn interesting things about them. For example: maybe you wouldn’t have pegged them as a person who likes trashy TV shows, or puts mayonnaise on salad, or never puts the seat down on the toilet knowing that a girl  also uses the bathroom.

You also learn things about yourself that you never knew. Perhaps that you say things without tact, no memory to buy toilet paper, or take out the garbage. And from the ping pong match I watched the other night; I have no ability to have a real solid debate in Spanish. I’m still much smarter in English.

But then you go out into the world each day and the world tells you that you are fine in the imperfect way that you are. Your friends and co-workers and students see the good in you and want to tell you all sorts of crazy things because they know you will listen. I now know that despite my opinion (and mostly facts) Spain is more expensive than Chicago. I also know that one of my students has such a love for Captain Crunch that It was necessary for me to know about it after class for many minutes. The most important affirmation I have made from getting to know all my new students at the high school, the academy, and private lessons is that I do well with younger children, and older high school students and not so much in between that. I think that’s why last year I felt so unsuccessful working with 3-6th grade. They smell like recess and I don’t know what they are talking about ever.

How I feel at moments with private lessons

With my semi recent arrival in Spain I had no plans on travelling until perhaps my birthday next week. (yeesh). Last year I went to Milan, the city where I had a sugar coma, fashion coma, and graffiti coma all at once. I’m not going to top that, so I’m not going to try.

I did take a trip sooner than expected though because we had a “puente” long weekend for All saints day November 1. The last minute planning kept me within Spain, and to two cities I had been thinking about visiting for a few years, but only in the very back of my mind.  Not only until the end of both trips did I remember why I would have wanted to visit them. First: Valladolid. From Logrono it’s a quick train ride away. If I could travel everywhere by train, I would.

Valladolid, world spinning fountain.

A nice plaza Mayor.

Takes my breath away.

One of the best pintxos of MY LIFE. At La Tasquita.

At vino joven. True artwork.


Some foi, at El peso. Off Plaza Mayor.

View from hotel window, La Catedral (fitting name)

My life would not be what it is without this man.

Wept inside that his house/museum was not open when I went. Next time.

Christopher Columbus, Cristobol Colon. Thanks and no thanks at the same time….

C. Columbus Casa!

Even though we had some rainy moments, I loved Valladolid. Something I like to do when I travel is imagine myself living in the different cities I visit. I pick out imaginary apartments, think of myself at different cafes, taking walks, sitting in the park, people watching, and so on.I saw myself a little bit in Valladolid. At least as an old lady draped in a mink coat walking with my really cute old husband.

Every meal we had was delicious and luckily we walked a lot or I would have returned to Logrono with a little extra cushion bursting out of my jeans. Of course, there was still Salamanca in front of us. Really one of the best things about vacations is that the hardest decision you have to make is what you’ll eat. So until next time…..because I’m currently trying to edit a video with my fellow Chicagoan about Chicago. It’s one of the dorkiest things I’ve ever done but I think we’ll be very proud once we figure out how to use iMovie. Oh technology.